Andaman Community Experience Trip Notes
Trip code: FHFTT
Trip length: 13 days
- Enjoy the beautiful beaches at Ao Nang and Koh Lanta
- Enjoy time with the friendly fishing village community of Ban Talae Nok
- Uncover tropical jungle in Khao Sok
This itinerary will take you on a journey into stunning little-visited parts of Thailand. From jungle walks in ancient rainforest to exploring tropical islands above and below the waves, you'll really get under the skin of the country. Spending time as guests of a rural village community is a highlight, providing a fantastic experience of real Thai hospitality.
Arrive at your first night’s accommodation and check in. Bangkok is the epitome of the modern, steaming Asian metropolis; no matter what your interests, there is something here for everyone. With time to relax and get over any jet lag there are several optional visits you could make.
A visit to Wat Trimit will reveal a solid gold Buddha image weighing a staggering 5½ tonnes! Alternatively, the house of the wealthy silk magnate, Jim Thompson - who disappeared in mysterious circumstances - is now a museum containing great examples of traditional Thai furniture and is well worth a visit. All the above trips are optional and are a great introduction to this fascinating city.
Nuovo City Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool
You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. For information on when the trip ends please refer to the itinerary as described below.
Bangkok; overnight train
This morning you set off by boat to explore the waterways of Bangkok. Life along the canals, or klongs as they are called, is totally different from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city - it’s like entering a different world. You’ll also visit the Grand Palace, with its many spectacular temples, the most famous of which is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This spectacular collection of buildings was once the seat of power and was built to be self-sufficient. You also visit Wat Po, home of the Reclining Buddha - 46 metres in length! Tonight you board the overnight train to Surat Thani.
Berth on sleeper train - 1 night (B)
Khao Sok National Park
Arriving at Surat Thani early in the morning, there’s time for breakfast at a café near the railway station, before you drive for a couple of hours to Khao Sok National Park. Here you find some of Thailand’s best remaining rainforest, which is an incredible 150 million years old! Here amongst the giant tropical hardwood trees the limestone ‘karst’ formations stretch up from the jungle floor. This exciting national park is home to some of the country’s rarest animals, including leopard, Malayan sun bear, elephant, langur and even tiger, though they are elusive and rarely seen.
During your two-day stay you have plenty of time to explore. Included is a half-day walk to learn more about the tropical rainforest ecosystem and perhaps visit incredible stalactite caves. Although the walking is not difficult and you carry only a daypack, it can be tiring, as conditions are hot and underfoot it’s often wet and slippery.
In the rainy season you may be able to take to the river in inner tubes and float downstream through the rainforest (dependent on water level), listening to the calls of gibbons and the other sounds of the jungle (additional charge).
As you would expect in the jungle, facilities are basic; however the setting of superb limestone cliffs, mountains and rainforest more than makes up for any lack of western comforts. There is the opportunity for those who wish to, to take a short elephant ride during your stay (additional charge).
Morning Mist Resort (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (B)
Discover village life
After the rainforest, you’ll head to the rural village of Ban Talae Nok on the Andaman coast. For over 10 years, the Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute has helped to teach local communities how to manage tourism by creating tours that support conservation and development as well as the preservation of culture and tradition. As not everyone has the time to spend several weeks, or even months volunteering on a project, this ‘hands on’ aspect has been integrated into the trip itinerary to give you the chance to contribute something to the community without requiring a long time commitment. The only requirement is that you come with an open mind and a “have a go” attitude.
After a welcome and introduction to this fantastic initiative, you’ll meet your host family who will proudly show you around their home and village and what follows will be a positive cultural interchange where you’ll experience what life is like in this Thai village community, as well as their unique customs and traditions. The village was hit by the 2004 tsunami and the villagers who are now rebuilding their lives and their homes are an true inspiration.
During your stay, you'll get stuck in to an array of activities, which include English lessons and games with children - maybe even a spot of football on the beach, Thai dessert making, Nipa Palm roof weaving, fishing on the beach and a long-tail boat trip through the mangrove forest. The kids will love integrating with the local children and this is the ideal way to give something back to the community that you visit.
Homestay (A) - 2 nights (Bx2)
After a morning's activities you say your farewells to the villagers at Ban Talae Nok and head south to the lively resort of Ao Nang with its many bars and restaurants and superb coastal views.
Hundreds of years ago, the waters along the coast of Krabi Province were a favourite hideout for pirates because of its intricate coves and hidden caves. Below the water an array of colourful tropical fish awaits anyone who goes snorkelling.
You can appreciate the dramatic, looming limestone monoliths rising out of the sea and the beautiful coastline of Krabi province. It is possible to take an exciting half-day sea-kayaking excursion to explore the mangrove forests to the north of Ao Nang. Here you’ll paddle along the coast and through creeks which are a haven for countless threatened marine creatures. This is a very different environment to that which visitors expect to see in tropical southern Thailand and is both fun and educational for kids and adults alike! (Please note that the timing of the trip depends on local tides).
At your base in vibrant Ao Nang you are close to the beach where boats can be taken the short distance to dramatic Raileh West. Nearby is the majestic Tiger Cave Temple, known in Thai as ‘Wat Tham Sua’. It’s unique because the monks worship in a labyrinth of underground caves. The highlight for many tourists is the climb up more than 1200 steps for panoramic views of the Andaman Coast (optional).
Another option that may be possible for qualified scuba divers time permitting is exploring beneath the waves as well as above. Non-divers have the option of a 'try dive' to discover the underwater marine world. NB. Divers require their proof of qualification and log books.
Please note that plenty of free time has been left in Ao Nang for you to choose which activity you prefer, hence, all above suggested activities are optional and are at an additional charge.
Phu Pha Resort (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx2)
Leaving Ao Nang, you head southwards to the provincial capital of Krabi. You catch a ferry here, from the Jao Fah Pier, and make the 2-hour crossing to Ban Sala Dan on the island of Koh Lanta Yai. Koh Lanta is made up of a collection of 52 islands in total and is considered one of Thailand’s most eco-friendly resort areas. Here you can expect to see hornbill, sea eagle, heron and if you’re lucky, perhaps a Giant Sea Turtle (Jan-May).
From the ferry dock it’s a 10-minute drive to your hotel on Kaw Kwang Beach. Accommodation here consists of simple, Thai style beach bungalows. You have the rest of the afternoon to make yourself at home and, after checking in, enjoy the stunning vistas of this island paradise. Over the following couple of days, you have the option of crossing the beautifully clear water of the Andaman Sea to explore the quiet, tropical islands nearby (additional charge).
Twin Bay Resort (AAA) - 3 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx3)
This morning you’ll catch the ferry back to Krabi from where you'll be transferred to the airport for a short flight back to Bangkok. You'll be transferred to your hotel where you can spend your last evening at leisure.
Nuovo City Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
The trip ends at your hotel. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesBeach / coastal
Helping with local projects
Transport - Minibus, ferry, on foot, pick-up truck, domestic flight, public bus, sky train, long tail boat.
Accommodation - Overnight train (1nt), homestay (2nts), hotels (2nts), lodges (2nts), beach bungalows (5nts).
Meals - 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 2 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 325 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
Clothing and Footwear
Revealing clothing is not acceptable (no bare knees or shoulders), especially for temple visits. Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing store.
- Lightweight clothing (cotton), but bring a warm sweater too (it can get cool in the evenings, even in the south of Thailand). Note - In Khao Sok, clothing tends to get dirty fairly quickly as we are in the jungle. Please bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof/plastic bags to keep clothes/valuables dry
- Sun-hat and Sarong
- Lightweight trail boots/walking shoes
- Trekking sandals
- While southern Thailand is known for its beaches, the Thais are modest and visitors should respect this. Topless or nude sunbathing is not only illegal but also offends locals
- Please note Ban Talae Nok is a traditional Muslim village, so it will be necessary to cover up and wear appropriate clothing during your visit here.
- Snorkelling gear (optional - some sets may be available for hire)
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, lipsalve and insect repellent
- Personal First Aid kit
- Non-polluting biodegradable soap
- Toilet Paper
- Eye mask for the overnight train
- A laundry service is available in most hotels, but we recommend you take biodegradable travel detergent so you can wash clothes as you choose
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Local Costs - Thailand
Approximate average costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink £1.00
Bottle of mineral water £1.50
Medium beer £2.00
Bottle of wine £10
Local snack lunch £3.00
3-course dinner* £9.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Thailand
Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa unless stay exceeds 30 days. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of your trip. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
We advise all passengers to carry photocopies of passport & travel documents & to be aware that is it a legal requirement to carry id at all times.
Vaccinations - Thailand
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Tetanus Polio
- Typhoid Malaria
- Diphtheria NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if coming from an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and you will be expected to tip to reward service. Your Group Leader will be able to give you an indication of when and how much is appropriate. This can vary widely, but please allow £15 per person (including children), for this trip. Also, if you wish to tip your Group Leader (in recognition of their contribution towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday) a suggested guideline would be approximately £1 to £2 per person, per day.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.